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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

The hidden cost of trees

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Trees are a staple of residential landscapes, and many homeowners do all they can to take care of them if they have them. Apart from providing a shelter for wildlife and doing a small part to keep the air clean, trees simply look nice, making them desirable elements on any property. Unfortunately, trees tend to be very expensive pieces of foliage. This cost comes not only from the cost providing proper care, but also from the potential damage they could cause to a home. 

In the course of a home inspection, the inspector may note the condition of trees on the property and recommend any precautions that need to be taken. Even without an inspection, though, there are a few things every homeowner should know about trees that aren't exactly common knowledge.

Root issues
Tall trees are the envy of many homeowners, and they are certainly majestic things. However, tall trees require a sprawling system of dense roots that can sometimes prove to be an invisible menace. Realtor.com spoke to one Cincinnati homeowner who ended up sinking $19,000 into repairing underground sewer pipes damaged by tree roots. Invasive roots are a relatively common problem, and have been known to cause damage to pipes, wires and even the foundation of a house.

To avoid these issues, Realtor.com suggested homeowners avoid planting the most commonly invasive trees, which include hybrid poplars, willows, American elm and silver maple. If one of the species must be on the property, it should be kept at least 10 feet from the foundation of the house or the driveway. These trees should also be at least 20 feet from water or sewer pipes.

Tree damage
Another common expense caused by trees is much more easy to see. Severe storms and winter snow and ice cause countless trees to fall on homes every year. According to insurance provider Allstate, this damage is only sometimes covered by a homeowner's policy, and insurance carriers will typically not pay for preventive removal of fallen trees that cause no other damage. 

Instead, homeowners should be aware of the signs of unstable trees and remove them before they cause damage. Signs of a dangerous tree include:

  • Lack of leaves in the spring
  • Hollow trunk
  • Tilting more than 15 degrees vertically

Trees are great to have around, but they can be a commitment. Be sure to care for your trees to prevent damage and keep them looking their best.